Latest medical innovations from around the world will be on show at Arab Health Image Credit: Supplied

With the region’s health-care sector expected to grow fivefold in the next decade, the industry’s attention will be on a major trade show in Dubai this week. Arab Health, the second-largest event of its kind, begins at the Dubai World Trade Centre tomorrow and runs until Thursday.

The event serves as a single window for medical suppliers to reach a market of more than 400 million people, says Show Director Dave Panther, of organisers Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions. “According to McKinsey & Company, total health-care spending in the region will reach $60 billion (Dh220.37 billion) in 2025, up from $12 billion today,” he told GN Focus via email ahead of the show. “The rise in demand for health care in the GCC will continue to escalate over the next decade or so.” Factors contributing to this include a need to provide better medical services for diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular problems and diabetes.

Ambitious medical infrastructure projects are driving industry growth in the GCC. New projects include the King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Security Forces Medical Complexes where two separate medical cities are being built at a cost of $6.7 billion, the 156-bed Abu Dhabi Medical Rehabilitation Centre in Khalifa City A, and the $381-million Burjeel Medical City at Mohammad Bin Zayed City on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway.

“Saudi Arabia followed by the UAE are at the top when it comes to significant health-care spending, according to Deloitte’s 2015 health-care report,” Panther says. “Total health-care expenditure in Saudi Arabia is projected to rise by an average of 6.2 per cent a year between 2014 and 2018 to $48.3 billion. Health-care expenditure in the UAE is expected to increase 6.9 per cent a year, from $14 billion in 2013 to $19.6 billion in 2018.”

More than 4,000 companies from 70 countries are exhibiting the latest medical innovations and tools at Arab Health, which has been a fixture since 1975. Participating countries include Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, the Netherlands, India, Iran, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Pakistan, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and the US, with new representations from Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.

In terms of new elements, a 3D Medical Printing Zone will provide an immersive experience. A dedicated 3D Medical Printing Conference will also take place alongside.

About 20 different education events are held alongside the show as part of the Arab Health Congress, which is the largest CME-accredited multi-track medical conference in the world. New events this year include Multidisciplinary Approaches to Critical Care, Rheumatology Conference, and Middle East Travel Medicine.

“The 2015 congress attracted more than 12,900 delegates, an increase of over 2,000 delegates compared to 2014. This year promises to be even better and offers the latest insights from more than 500 speakers from across the globe,” Panther says.

WHAT THE EXHIBITORS SAY

Last year, more than 93,500 trade visitors from 151 countries attended Arab Health. The show’s appeal lies in its central location for visitors from Africa, Asia, the GCC and the Middle East, organisers say.

V.S. Salil, Marketing Manager of HW International, which brings health and wellness products from German company Beurer to the show, agrees: “Last year Beurer participated with our own stand at Arab Health. Taking part helps us improve our business in the region. We had good response from medical professionals.”

The company, whose range includes blood sugar measuring units, blood pressure instruments, thermometers, nebulisers and pulse watches, returns this year with a range of new air treatment products, including the hygrometer HM 16, which provides healthy, humidified air for indoors. New products in other categories include the PO 40 Pulse Oximeter, MP 26 Callus Remover and three hair-removal devices, “Beurer is [this year] focusing on product solutions that are specially tailored to the needs of customers and that contribute to a healthy lifestyle,” Salil adds. “We are planning to expand our business to India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in future.”

For the imaging and diagnostics products manufacturer GE Healthcare, Arab Health is also an opportunity to look anew at regional markets. “This year we will be placing a particularly strong focus on the UAE, Kuwait and Iraq as we have some key country-specific announcements to make during the Congress,” says Maher Abouzeid, President & CEO of GE Healthcare for Eastern Growth Markets. “Arab Health is always a very successful event for us. For us it is all about the future of health care and helping the region to design the hospitals of the future, with a strong focus on digital and smart technologies.”

GE Healthcare has invested $2 billion (Dh7.34 billion) to boost its software capability by 2018, with 3,000 of its 50,000 employees now software engineers. It is putting digital, big data and the industrial internet at the heart of its show offering. Products on display include ViosWorks, a cardiac MRI solution that reduces the cardiac exam from more than 60 minutes to under ten minutes, Omnyx, a digital solution for pathologists to view high-res tissue samples anywhere, and the DoseWatch for Patient Safety, a software that uses data analytics to track and report radiation doses from imaging devices.

NEED TO KNOW

Arab Health takes place from tomorrow to Thursday at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The trade-only show runs from 10am to 6pm every day, except Monday when it starts at 10.30am and Thursday when it closes at 5pm. Registration is required for all visitors. It is co-located with MedLab Middle East, a show for laboratory companies, and 20 conferences for medical professionals under

the Arab Health Congress banner. For details, log on to Arabhealthonline.com